Friday, May 27, 2011

Piles of patience required

After I got my feedback back from Lovely Agent, regarding novel 2, I re-read my manuscript for the first time since submitting it; about 3 months.  And oh boy - it read embarrassingly like a first draft. 

Even though at the time I was convinced it was as good as it could be, it would have benefitted from being thrust under a cushion for a while and a complete rewrite, because things leapt out of the pages, even without the feedback.

A couple of gaping plot holes, a fairly unlikeable main character, and WAY too many repetitions of the word 'heap' for a start. As in 'heaps of fun' and 'piled into a heap' and 'a heap of toast'.  What is it with me and the word 'heap'?  I wasn't even aware I liked the word, and I certainly can't stand it now.

I think at the time I was too keen to get it sent out, worried the agent might think I wasn't up to the task of completing another novel if I messed around for too long - but with hindsight I should have waited a while. 

Luckily the holes are easily plugged, and the word 'heap' has been banished forever, but once I've finished the rewrite I'm going to take the advice I've read so many times before, and print the whole thing out for a final read-through (our printer is dodgy so this option never really appealed before).

THEN I'll shove it under a cushion and let it rest for a bit.

After that, I'll send it back knowing it really IS the best it could possibly be; and hope Lovely Agent agrees.

24 comments:

Rosemary Gemmell said...

I so know what you mean about being in too much of a hurry to get it out! All the best with the redrafting.

Caroline said...

Ahh a kindred spirit! I'm always in way too much of a hurry to send stuff out without a final read through! Caroline x

Amanda said...

Heaps of luck when sending it back to lovely agent, Karen :-)

Shirley Wells said...

Heaps is a wonderful word. I love it!

It's so easy to be in too much of a hurry to send things off, isn't it? I'm rattling through the current book with one eye on the deadline and I know I need to slow down and have a really good look at it. Good luck with it!

Teresa Ashby said...

I must admit to being fond of the word heap too - very descriptive!

Good luck with the rewrite x

Debs Carr said...

I love that you use heap all the time. It's not one of my oft repeated words, but it's more fun.

Good luck with your revisions.

Dumdad said...

Heaps of work ahead for you. Good luck.

Debs Riccio said...

I like the word 'heap', only after a while it looks kinda 'wrong'. My over-used word is 'actually', actually!

liz fenwick said...

Good luck with the heap of revisions :-) With each book I seam to have a favourite word...
lx

Patsy said...

Glad I'm not alone in suddenly over using a random word. Actually, I feel heaps better now.

Lorna F said...

It's so hard, isn't it, to take a step back from your work and it is amazing how much you notice after a hiatus - things really do jump out at you. the over-used word for me in my last novel was 'peer' - people didn't gaze, stare, glance or even look. They peered. They peer no more. Good luck with the revisions and the Lovely Agent, Karen x

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Madeleine said...

Awh bless! Glad your lovely agent appreciated your eagerness. Another saultory tale to site on it awhile before re-reading it. :O)

HelenMHunt said...

You're making so much progress. I'm really impressed. Good luck with the tweaking.

Kari Marie said...

Good luck with the rewriting. I will often hear a word and use it once or twice. Then randomly I'll start seeing it in everything I write becuase I've apparently latch onto it as the best word to use for everything. Thank God for find and replace in MS Word.

Eastcoastclub said...

why do you put yourself down so much in this blog? I read your stuff and it is really great and I hate everything well check my blog out if you like

Anna Scott Graham said...

I have a not so small obsession with ONLY. As in; she only nodded. He only smiled. They only giggled. I only wanted to cut my throat when this was pointed out to me.

I believe our eyes see a certain level of writing. Because I'll read a manuscript again and find heaps of mayhem. :))) I only shake my head, then look around for a cup of tea. I only glance for sharp instruments, hidden in a heap in the drawer...

Chris Stovell said...

Do you have a kindle? Downloading my WIP to it certainly helped me to stand back from it... although since I'm currently waiting for verdict... Anyway, good luck with it!

Cally said...

I think it's perfectly normal (well, if we both do it that makes it normal right?) to get a bit fixated with a word in a novel. I was told by my editor that there were too many 'Aaarggh!'s in novel 2 so had to prune! And I'm pretty sure there were too many 'Oh my God!'s in novel 1. What delight will novel 3 hold I wonder? ;)

Good luck with the revisions. I'd be too terrified to re-read the first version of novel 2 that I submitted to my publisher b/c I'm fairly certain that would read like a first draft! (despite lots of editing).

Colette McCormick said...

I'm always in a rush to get things sent off so you have my sympathy. Good luck with the rewrites

Anna May said...

Hello Karen,

Interesting post. I don't think the self doubt about whether a manuscript is as good as it could be ever goes away.
I've just got my first copy of my book from the publishers and although I am THRILLED with how it looks I am too scared to open it because this is the draft I can't change!

Anna May x

Karen said...

rosemary - It's a steep learning curve! I've finished now, but am letting it settle for a bit.

caroline - Whenever I've done it in the past, I've ALWAYS regretted it!

amanda - I'll need several big heaps methinks :o)

shirley - Good luck with yours too :o) I'm leaving mine to rest for a bit this time!

teresa - At least I've learnt lots of new ways to describe a pile of something!

debs - I only discovered it by chance, as I was looking for a particular sentence using find and replace, and that word kept popping up!

dumdad - Then heaps of waiting when I send it out again :o)

debs - I'm fond of that one too, actually. 'Rather' is another favourite. I need some sort of alarm to sound whenever I repeat a word more than twice!

liz - I've just read a book by Fiona Gibson, and it was absolutely littered with the word 'snigger'. I was amazed she got away with it, there were so many - it was starting to annoy me in the end.

patsy - Heaps of people seem to be guilty of overusing words - glad I'm not the only one!

lorna - I had a couple of 'peered's in mine and changed one them to 'peek'! I definitely letting it rest for a while this time before sending it back.

hapi - Ummm - thank you!

madeleine - I've a horrible feeling she was probably cursing my eagerness! A lesson learned.

helen - Thank you :o) I've finished it now - I think!

kari marie - Find and replace is a godsend. I also use a really good online editing tool called Autocrit, which picks up repeated words and phrases. In fact I've no excuse for getting it wrong really!

eastcoastclub - I like to think I'm being realistic rather than putting myself down, but thank you - I appreciate the sentiment :o)

anna - It is kind of embarrassing when you realise you haven't noticed this stuff before, but I guess the important thing is to get it all out and do the tidying up later :o) (Not with knives though!)

chris - I don't have a Kindle - I know people swear by them though. Good luck with yours :o)

cally - Ooh, I've got loads of arrrgghhs and oh my gods too! I might have to go through again and remove some!

I had a quick look at the first draft of My Future Husband recently, and oh dearie me. I swiftly closed it again.

colette - One advantage of belonging to a writing group and posting stories for feedback is that you at least get a bit of distance from them before submitting :o)

anna may - I've a feeling you're probably right. Seeing it in print must be brilliant though. I probably wouldn't even read it, I'd just stand there weeping with joy and sniffing the pages.

Kate said...

Ah patience. A timely post since I'm a bit short of that myself. I was is too much of a hurry to get my revisions done and back to my agent that all I ended up doing was another round of revisions :-)

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